Anything that can be pickled and used to enhance flavour is bound to be used in Swedish cooking and capers are certainly no exception. They are used in many Swedish dishes and in sauces such as remouldsås (remoulade sauce).

What are capers?

A dish of capers

Capers are the edible flower buds from caper bushes (capparis spinosa). They are native to most Mediterranean countries, but they also grow in many other parts of the world including Asia and Australia.

The flower buds are picked when very young, a long time before the buds would open. The buds are then dried and pickled which gives them their pungent, salty and vinegary taste.

Non Pareil Capers

A jar of nonpareille capers

Non pareil (sometimes also spelt nonpareille) means without equal. Capers are graded according to size and only those under 10 mm diameter can be graded as non pareil, which are supposed to be the best quality capers available.

Using capers

Capers on smoked salmon smörgås

It is worth trying capers in your cooking. They add a wonderful salty flavour when used as a topping for fish, chicken or meat. Räksallad med kapris och äpple (prawn (shrimp) salad with capers and apple) is particularly nice and capers make a good addition to many smörgås (open sandwiches).

Capers are easy to use and they keep well, but they are best drained and rinsed before use to remove excess brine.

John Duxbury

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